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Is It Time for a New Bowler Hat?2 min read

With the agricultural show season about to start, it might be a good time to consider replacing your Bowler Hat if you are going to be a judge. Although not commonly seen today, the Bowler Hat has a long history and is an iconic hat that has been used by likes of Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, and of course, Arthur Lowe, as Captain Mainwaring in Dad’s Army. In the TV show it was very much a prestigious item of clothing illustrating, in this instance, that the Captain was a bank manager in the civilian world. More seriously, it was a status symbol for city bankers and businessmen for many years.

Very much associated with British gentry, the bowler hat was designed by London hat makers, Thomas and William Bowlers, for hatters, Lock & Co of St James’s. The instruction was to create a piece of headwear that could be worn by gamekeepers when they were out riding, to protect their heads from low-hanging branches. It is thought that before accepting the hat Edward Coke the younger brother of the 2nd Earl of Leicester arrived at the shop in London and stamped on the crown twice to check its robustness.

In the early days, all bowlers were made of fur felt, which means they have natural water repellent. Today, fur felt bowlers are still made in the traditional way; with rabbit fur that is spun tight. This manufacturing process results in a robust construction that gives long term durability and smartness.

Alternatively, there are wool felt bowlers that are more competitively priced and ideal for the less frequent user, such as judges at agricultural shows. Whilst these hats are not as durable as the fur felts, they do represent excellent value and will last a considerable time. Visit www.coes.co.uk where you will find both types of bowler hat, plus a wide array of hats and caps, for all sorts of occasions.

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